Forest department officials on Sunday gunned down a wild elephant which went on a rampage, damaging property and putting the lives of the villagers at risk.
The incident occurred at Beliatore in Bankura, when the forest department officials started a drive to catch a wild tusker that had caused destruction in the area. Members of the team tried to tranquilise the animal, but it turned futile as the elephant became more violent and chased the forest officials. As the situation kept getting worse, the forest officials decided to gun down the animal. The officials had resumed the drive on Sunday, with five kunkis (trained elephants).
A month ago a wild elephant from the same area was gunned down, after which the drive was stalled for a while. On July 6, another tusker declared rogue by the forest department for killing and injuring villagers was shot dead on Tuesday by professional hunters engaged by the government inside the dense forests of Beliatore. Forest officials, however, managed to capture another young elephant, after tranquilising it. The young one was later sent to a rehab centre in north Bengal.
The state forest department said that the killing was the last resort. They initially tried to capture it, but they had to take the drastic step to save the lives of the villagers, after all efforts had failed. Around 108 human deaths took place in 2015 and ’16, following man-animal conflict that often turns ugly for the villagers. At least 14 elephants were killed in retaliatory attacks in the same period. State Forest Minister Binay Krishna Burman said that the tusker had been declared ‘rogue’ and injuring a few villagers. It had been on the run since and all earlier efforts to capture or kill it had failed. It had already claimed four lives. Doctors had declared it rouge and knew it would never become fit.
It may be mentioned that the department proposed to create a ‘solitary elephant dossier’, which would track the movement of animals.